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The Glasgow China Lecture "Riding the Tiger: Challenges of China’s Municipal Finance in the 21st Century"
Monday, May 21, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM (BST)
Glasgow, United Kingdom
You are cordially invited to the 2012 Glasgow China Lecture. This event is jointly organised by the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Centre for China Research
Speaker: Christine Wong, Professor of Chinese Public Finance, University of Oxford China Centre
Date : Monday 21 May 2012
Time : Lecture: 1800-1915, networking: 1915-2000
Venue: Sir Charles Wilson Building, University of Glasgow, 1 University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ
Profile Christine Wong is Professor of Chinese Public Finance and Director of Chinese Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. She has taught on the faculties at the University of Washington, the University of California, Santa Cruz; University of California, Berkeley; and Mount Holyoke College. She has also held senior staff positions at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Christine’s research focuses on China’s public finance and public sector reform. Over the past fifteen years she has worked extensively in advisory capacities, for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as well as through consultancies for the OECD, UNDP, UNICEF, and DFID. Christine received her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Abstract From 1980 to 2011, the number of people living in Chinese cities increased by 500 million. This is urbanization on a scale and pace unprecedented in human history. Financing infrastructure and public services to accommodate the growing population and economic base presented a gargantuan challenge that, in China’s decentralized fiscal system, was left to municipal governments, with little assistance from higher levels.
The cities responded with great energy and ingenuity. Under a policy regime of benign neglect from the central government, they expanded their resources by tapping a variety of extra-budgetary revenues including land, they limited eligibility to urban services by excluding migrants, and they created corporate entities to borrow. The strategy helped China achieve spectacular growth over the past 3 decades, but left in its wake a patchwork of risky and unsustainable financing mechanisms, a mountain of debt and a two-tiered urban populace. Fixing the system of municipal finance is critical to China’s transition from middle-income to high-income status, and to her long term prospects for creating humane and livable cities.